Generic Types of Gypsum Wallboard

Drywall Supply Warehouse

When we started our business, we dealt with one thing - wallboard. Though many years have passed since that humble beginning, there's one thing we still know better than any other, and that's gypsum wallboard. But when you're in one of our stores, there are a lot of options available. Made by compressing gypsum between two paper sheets, gypsum wallboard is probably the most commonly-used interior wall facing used today. In this piece, we'll help you sort through the differences and why they're important so that you can pick the perfect drywall panel options for your project.

By Performance:

  • Standard drywall is just that - standard. It works for probably 90% of your wallboard applications and has been the solid standard for over 50 years. It goes up quickly, is relatively easy to handle and can be finished with no great hassle. It's not as structurally sound during a fire and can sag in damp areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Water-resistant wallboard, also Mold Resistant Drywallreferred to as greenboard, is good for areas where it may be exposed to water, such as in a bathroom or kitchen. It has waterproofing materials in the core, but still remains breathable so that moisture can dissipate through the wall, helping prevent mold. Because it's intended to be water resistant, it doesn't gain weight from retaining water and sag like standard drywall does.
  • Fire-resistant wallboard isn't technically fireproof, but it provides a longer burn-through time, giving you more time to get your family to safety and more time for the firemen to get the blaze under control, which is why it's required between garages and living spaces in most codes. It has fiberglass included in its matrix, so once the heat is on, it won't crumble away and leave your flammable studs exposed. For a little extra protection, go with the 5/8" option.
  • Sound-dampening wallboard has additional air spaces built into it, to help dampen the sound from the street, to provide more privacy in bedrooms or to ensure that your son's electric guitar practice doesn't become a public performance.

By Size:

  • The most common size of wallboard is 4' by 8', easily fitting the most common wall height and reducing the number of cuts you'll need to make.
  • If you're dealing with taller walls, gypsum wallboard is also commonly available in 9', 10' and 12' sections, with special orders available in lengths up to 16'. Why would you want this instead of the standard 8' length? To reduce the number of seams you need to tape and mud.

By Thickness:

  • Though it's sometimes used for walls on 16" centers, 3/8" drywall is also commonly used on curved walls, archways and other areas where flexibility is a must. The drywall is flexible enough that it can be bent along the curve and fastened in place, allowing for a world of design possibilities.
  • 1/2" drywall is the standard wallboard, used for the great majority of interior walls in construction. It's great on 16" or 24" centers on walls, or on 12" or 16" centers for ceilings. Wider spans on ceilings should be avoided as it may sag under its own weight, giving your project a poor appearance.
  • 5/8" drywall is somewhat stiffer than the standard, making it great for ceilings or for wider stud spacing. Because it's a bit heavier, it's less likely to deform or sag under its own weight, so your project will continue looking great for years to come.

Drywall Types and Benefits Overview

Here is a quick video from Andy Davis, Portland, ME Store Manager, discussing the benefits of lightweight drywall vs standard drywall for those who are considering lightweight options for their project.


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By using the appropriate wallboard for the job, you can ensure that your job will go quickly, easily and with great end results. If you are looking for gypsum but need a bit more information before making the final decision download our free product guide: Interior Extreme Gypsum Panel from National Gypsum.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.